Monthly Archives: March 2012

ChristianWorks for Children spells family business

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Editor’s note: From the Inside The Pew archives; run date July 20, 2009.

By Jennifer Paul
Inside The Pew

DALLAS – How important is the role of a Christ-centered family in the life of a child? One Dallas-based ministry believes it is essential.

“(Family) was the first institution created by God,” said Rob Pine, executive director of ChristianWorks for Children, a

These four children are from the village of Ateiku in the western region of Ghana. The two boys, who are brothers, were taken in by Ateiku’s preacher/missionary, Lawrence Orduru, after their parents were killed, saving their sons from a housefire. The older girl was taken in by Orduru after her mother was caught beating her daughter in public. The mother then abandoned the girl and told Orduru to take her. The youngest girl in the picture is Orduru’s daughter.

non-profit organization dedicated to assisting families in times of trouble. “The first relationship He created was marriage; the second relationship was the parent-child relationship. How can it not be important? It is the relationship upon which all other relationships have been built.”

Pine and his staff of licensed counselors and trained volunteers who regularly serve at ChristianWorks, passionately believe that a healthy, Christ-centered family is vital for the well being of all children, their parents, and the community as a whole.

ChristianWorks for Children has faithfully served Dallas and the surrounding area for 42 years. It began as a ministry of the churches of Christ in an attempt to provide pregnant women with maternity homes and adoption services. In the mid ‘90s, ChristianWorks expanded its program to include counseling services. This addition was “driven by a desire to help keep families together” and to “help parents help their children” by providing Christian guidance, Pine said. The ministry has grown significantly, and the counselors at ChristianWorks currently minister to families from all over the Metroplex.

In 2000, the need was noticed for a grief ministry for children.

“Everywhere we turned,” Pine said, “there was grief support for adults who were grieving the death of someone, but there wasn’t a children’s program anywhere in Dallas County.”

This prompted ChristianWorks to design Dallas GriefWorks for Kids. Beginning with only one child, GriefWorks currently serves 39 families.

The three ministries of ChristianWorks for Children (AdoptionWorks, CounselingWorks, and GriefWorks) were all established for the same purpose.

“We want children and families to know that God is there for them,” Pine said. “No matter what they are going through, no matter the circumstance, situation, or tragedy… and (we want them to know) that there are people who care.”

CounselingWorks offers professional counseling for individuals, couples, and families on a sliding scale based on family income. It also provides churches and organizations with the opportunity to join the church and corporation sponsorship program, which allows for members of those churches and organizations to receive counseling for $20 a session.

GriefWorks is a free program which offers help and support to children ages 5-18 who are suffering the loss of a loved one. Groups meet bi-weekly, and after enjoying a free meal provided by local volunteers, children split up into age groups to learn about and discuss a new aspect of grief each session.

Larry Barbar is director of CounselingWorks and GriefWorks.

The goal of AdoptionWorks is simple, Pine said.

“If there is a child who needs a family, our objective is to find that child a Christian family any way we can. That birth mom needs to know that God cares about her and cares about that baby,” Pine said. “That baby doesn’t have a voice, so somebody’s got to watch out for it and speak for it. And as a licensed adoption agency in the state of Texas, we are responsible for that child once the birth mother says, ‘yes.’”

But there is no doubt that the ministries of ChristianWorks are effective.

“What we do has long-reaching effects, into many generations, which change the face of eternity, change lives for eternity,” Pine said.

How to get involved: To take advantage of the services of ChristianWorks, join the church and corporation sponsorship program, call Kristina at (972) 960-9981 or visit www.christian-works.org.

Inside The Pew to cater to Christian literature enthusiasts

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By Jacob Trimmer
Inside The Pew

Do you enjoy reading and writing Christian literature?

Inside The Pew is set to launch a portion of its web magazine that will target Christian writers and authors.

Grelan Muse, founder of Inside The Pew, said the section will provide new and established Christian writers with another avenue to market their work.

“Our ultimate goal is to unite the body of Christ, and the writing talents of these authors is another means to meet the goal,” Muse said. “Judging by synopses we have received thus far, there’s a variety of topics covered in the books, from autobiographies to overcoming church hurt. Our readers will benefit from learning the stories of the authors regardless of the topic.”

Muse said the first review written by a Pew staff member is slated to premiere April 9. Until the premiere, there will be occasion preview reviews. Muse said a new work will be reviewed every other week. Author spotlights are available for a small tax-deductible donation to the ministry.

A section dedicated to short stories and poetry is also in the works, he said.

For consideration, email a synopsis or a press release, a photo of the book’s cover, and a photo of the author (f available) to pewnews@aol.com. For eBooks, submit a link to the work.

New documentary explores debate over doctrine of Hell

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By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

SANTA MONICA, Calif.– “Hellbound?” a much-anticipated feature-length documentary, is an in-depth look at today’s

highly contentious debate over the Christian doctrine of eternal punishment. Does hell really exist, and if so, what factors determine who ends up there?

According to a news release, the recent release of a teaser trailer for “Hellbound?” offers a first look at this provocative film, which will hit theaters across North America in September 2012 through a combination of major metropolitan area theatrical runs and special event screenings.

Written and directed by award-winning independent filmmaker Kevin Miller (Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, Sex+Money, spOILed and With God On Our Side), “Hellbound?” features interviews with an eclectic group of high-profile authors, theologians, pastors, social commentators, musicians, exorcists and individuals who claim to have experienced the fires of hell firsthand.

“Throughout history, Christians have disagreed about a lot of things,” says Miller. “During these debates, certain doctrines tend to become a litmus test to determine ‘insiders’ and ‘outsiders.’ That’s certainly the case right now regarding the doctrine of hell. ‘Hellbound?’ is my attempt to get to the bottom of the current debate, to find out why it’s so contentious and to discover the implications of this dispute for both Christians and those watching from a distance.”

Miller has no illusions about the controversy this film might cause. “No matter what you believe about hell, this film is definitely going to push your buttons. But I see that as a healthy thing. Rather than just stir people up though, I hope ‘Hellbound?’ will provoke informed discussion about what we believe about hell and why. I also hope it will get people to take a second look at the impact their beliefs have on the world at large.”

Production on “Hellbound?” took place in more than two-dozen cities across the United States, Canada and Denmark throughout 2011. It was produced by Miller’s own production company, Kevin Miller XI Productions Inc.

For the hybrid theatrical release, Miller is partnering with Area23a – an event-based theatrical distribution company co-founded by Kirt Eftekhar and Richard Abramowitz.

“We are thrilled to be working with Kevin Miller on ‘Hellbound?’ and to have the opportunity to connect audiences across America with this fascinating film,” says Eftekhar. “’Hellbound?’ provides moviegoers and communities with a one-of-kind forum to get involved in the hell debate.”

Official movie website: http://hellboundthemovie.com

Nearly 10,000 gather to hear Will Graham speak at Texas celebrations

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Special to Inside The Pew

Approximately 9,475 Texans heard inspiring messages of forgiveness, hope and purpose from evangelist Will Graham as he held the Red River Will Graham Celebration in Gainesville, March 16-18, and the Trinity Valley Will Graham Celebration in Terrell, March 23-25. More than 400 came forward at the invitation to make a decision for Jesus at the two events.

“We live in a world that says it’s all about you. But that’s not what the Bible says,” said Graham. “The Bible says that if you

Will Graham

want to be satisfied, you need to make God a priority in your life and make it less about you. The only way you can fulfill your purpose is to surrender your life into God’s hand.”

Dena Risinger, who chaired the Celebration executive committee in Terrell, said, “When we began this process many months ago, we assumed that this weekend would be a destination. Now I realize that this is just the beginning, and God has even more in store for our area.”

Johnny Leftwich, who chaired the Gainesville outreach, shared, “It’s been great to see the cooperation that we’ve had; hundreds of volunteers, people coming together not only in our community, but in our county. It’s been quite a joy watching people working together for one purpose and one purpose only: to see others begin a relationship with Jesus Christ.”

Graham was joined on-stage throughout the two events by a variety of musical acts. The Red River Celebration featured The Afters, one of today’s top Christian rock bands, who have had songs featured on many television shows, including “The Biggest Loser” and “Grey’s Anatomy.” The audience also had the opportunity to hear from the Northern Ireland-based Rend Collective Experiment, and hip-hop artist Tedashii.

The Trinity Valley Celebration featured music from Grammy Award-nominated band Fireflight and singer-songwriter Brenton Brown, along with Rend Collective Experiment and Tedashii.

Both Celebrations dedicated a morning to children with KidzFest events, featuring bounce houses, balloon animals, games, and a program tailored just for them by children’s performer Tommy Toombs.

Just prior to leaving for Texas, Graham was featured in a two-page article in People magazine. “I’m not used to that kind of attention,” said Graham. “It was very kind of them to do that, and the folks at People were great to work with. I’m very appreciative and very humbled to have had that opportunity.”

Marschall: ‘Abide with me’ dear Lord

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By Rick Marschall
Special to ASSIST News Service

SWARTZ CREEK, Mich. – Recently we have been thinking about times we have gone through, and days facing us. About short-term anxieties and losing sight of God’s long-term blessings, and His care. “Have a good week!” is the implication of sharing messages on Monday mornings, and is a common wish we speak to each other. Almost (too often) like a mantra: “Have a good day,” “Have a nice week,” even a vague “Have a good one.”

“Have a good week!” That’s the implication of sharing messages on Monday mornings, and is a common wish we speak to each

Writer's Opinion: Rick Marschall

other. Almost (too often) like a mantra: “Have a good day,” “Have a nice week,” even a vague “Have a good one.”

My friend Chris Orr of of Londonderry, Northern Ireland, put these pleasantries in perspective to me a while ago. He wrote, “It is great to start the week knowing that time does not exist to God. He already has seen the end of the week. Because of that, He has no worries at all about any of His children… so why should WE worry?… and, after all, we are only given one day at a time.”

Chris’s insight made me think of the hymn “Abide With Me” – a musical prayer that God be WITH us, that we be blessed by the realization of His presence, every moment of every day, right now and in the limitless future.

It was written by Henry Francis Lyte in 1847, as he lay dying of tuberculosis. Once again, the Holy Spirit strengthened a person at life’s “worst” moments with strength enough for that person… and for untold generations to take hope from it. Many people have been blessed — often in profound, life-changing ways — because of this one simple hymn.

Mr. Lyte died three weeks after composing these amazing words.

I urge you to watch and listen to the wonderful Hayley Westenra’s performance of Abide With Me… and then return here and read the full words to the hymn.

… and then ask God to abide with you today, and this week. And ever more.

Abide With Me

Abide with me! Fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide.
When other helpers fail, and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

Swift to its close, ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changes not, abide with me.

Not a brief glance I beg, or passing word;
But as Thou dwelled with Thy disciples, Lord-
Familiar, condescending, patient, free-
Come not to sojourn, but abide with me.

Come not in terrors, as the King of kings,
But kind and good, with healing in Thy wings,
Tears for all woes, a heart for every plea-
Come, Friend of sinners, and thus abide with me.

Thou on my head in early youth did smile;
And, though, rebellious and perverse meanwhile,
Thou hast not left me, oft as I left Thee.
On to the close, O Lord: abide with me.

I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who like Thyself my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.

I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.

Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

Rick Marschall is the author of 65 books and hundreds of magazine articles in many fields, from popular culture to history and criticism; country music, television history, biography and children’s books. His e-mail address is RickMarschall@gmail.com.

Sandi Patty & Friends to play 3-night concert event

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By Tonya Whitaker
Inside The Pew

Legendary contemporary Christian singer Sandi Patty will headline a three-event concert in select cities in the south from March 23-March 25, according to Dennis Fioravaniti with the Christian Classic Agency.

The Sandi Patty & Friends Tour is slated for March 23 in Memphis, Tenn., March 24 in Birmingham, Ala., and March 25 in

Sandi Patty

Little Rock, Ark.

The Sandi Patty & Friends Tour featuring one of the most highly acclaimed Christian vocal performers of our time with five

Grammy awards, four Billboard Music Awards, three platinum records, five gold records, and 11 million units sold, Patty is simply known as “The Voice.” Patty is the most awarded female vocalist in contemporary Christian music history, with 40 Dove Awards. She was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2004 and as an Indiana Living Legend in 2007. She has released more than 30 albums, including her latest Dove Award winning project, “The Edge of the Divine” (2010).

Patty is joined by her long time friend and five-time Grammy Award and eleven time Dove Award Male Vocalist of the Year,

Larnelle Harris

Larnelle Harris. Together, Patty and Harris have recorded some of the all time greatest duets and they will be singing several of them during the tour.

Also slated to join Patty on her three-night concert event are Dove Award winning artist Wayne Watson, whose career has spanned three decades and who has penned dozens of award-winning songs; Dove Award winning artist Clay Crosse, with his powerful soulful tenor voice; and Group of the Year winning Christian music group, 4HIM.

The event is promoted by the Christian Classic Agency, whose focus is to bring back the “classic” Christian music of the 80s and 90s to audiences everywhere.

Tickets for the shows are available at www.christianclassicagency.com.

Wright: Getting marriages ‘back to basics’

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By Todd Wright
Special to Inside The Pew

Books and articles on marriage enrichment are a dime a dozen and for the most part are “inspirational” in nature with little focus on the word of God.  Obviously secular works ignore the word of God, but those of the Christian variety often do not fare much better.

I was chatting with a new friend this week, and he made the point that believers need to get back to basics.  We have strayed

Fonny and Todd Wright

too far down the road of human viewpoint and need to make our way back to God’s perfect, divine viewpoint, the means by which we are to live the Christian life.  This is especially true in our marriages.

Let us first ask the most basic question: “Why are we here?”  As believers we know that God created us to bring glory to Himself (Proverbs 16:4, Isaiah 43:7,21, Psalms 86:9, 1 Corinthians 8:6, 10:31, Ephesians 1:11-12, etc.).  Suffice it to say the marriage of believers is a primary means by which to glorify our Father in Heaven.  The number one objective which must drive every discussion about the Christian marriage is that the marriage must glorify God.  For spiritually mature couples, this message frames every other discussion about every aspect of the marriage.  The husband should, above all else, glorify God.  The wife should, above all else, glorify God.  The marriage should, above all else, glorify God.

While spiritually mature couples are obedient to the passages above regarding bringing glory to God, spiritually immature couples, more often than not, seek happiness for themselves.  They seek self-gratification at the expense of bringing glory to God.  The solution for these believers is found in the word of God.  With knowledge of the word of God comes spiritual maturity.  The Bible speaks repeatedly of the importance of knowledge, wisdom, and an understanding of the scriptures.  As believers learn the principles of Bible doctrine, they begin to apply the teachings to their lives.  Bible doctrine is the solution to every problem.  It is the solution to every marriage problem a believer may encounter.  Without knowledge of Bible doctrine, spiritually immature believers are left to their own faulty, human viewpoint reasoning.  They spend their time grasping for happiness.  Many misguided, spiritually immature believers fail miserably in their pursuit of joy, but more importantly, they fail to bring glory to God.

When you are ready to get on the road to spiritual maturity, find a pastor-teacher who teaches the word of God in a systematic and methodical verse-by-verse method.  Ask the pastor- teacher to recommend Bible commentaries and other resources that take you through the doctrines in the scriptures.  The husband should study individually, the wife should study individually, and together the couple should study Bible doctrine.  While gaining in knowledge, wisdom, and understanding of the Bible these spiritually maturing believers are sure to bring glory to God.

Todd is the author of “Marriages That Glorify God.”  He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Sociology from the University of Mary-Hardin Baylor, and a Master of Science Degree in Counseling and Guidance from Texas A&M at Commerce.  He has worked in the field of community mental health for 20 years and has been a Licensed Professional Counselor in Texas for 18 years. He serves as the executive director of a large company providing community mental health services and is the founder of D. Todd Wright Ministries. Todd has been married to his wife, Fonny, for seven years.

Muse: Color me white

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By Grelan Muse Sr.
Inside The Pew

BATON ROUGE, La. – When I was a little boy growing up in Amite, La., I can remember the first time I went to school. From day one, it was hard for me. The black kids had to sit at the back of the bus and in the back of the class room. As a kid, I didn’t know what was going on, but I do know that we were treated very badly in and out of the classroom.

The white kids would laugh at us. The black kids were last at everything in school. Sitting in that classroom was one of the

Grelan Muse Sr.

hardest things we had to endure. Fear was a reality for the black kids, for we never knew what was going to happen from day to day. It was difficult to learn in that environment. For some of us, our grades began to suffer, and so we were placed in special education studies. We were looked at as the unlearned kids.

I can recall my siblings and me tell our mother how bad we were being treated. I still recall the pain I felt sitting at the table as I cried to my mother about what was happening at school. As a 6 year old, it was hard to understand why. Day in and day out we went to school feeling this way, being called the “N-word” all the time. I just didn’t understand.

When I got home from school one day, I asked my mother if we had some white paint. She wanted to know why I needed the paint. I told her I wanted to make my skin white so I would not endure the pain of being ridiculed. There were days when I cried because I felt worthless. Sadly, I was starting to hate myself for being black.

At this point, my mother sat me down. She picked up the Bible on the coffee table, and we read scriptures, specifically Matthew 5:44 and John 13:34-35. In Matthew, Christ said, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” (KJV). He echoes this in John: “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another./By this shall all [men] know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (KJV).

My mother asked us to do what Jesus said to love your enemies’ and she gave us a song to sing. The name of the song was, “I’ve Got The Love of Jesus.” When my siblings and I went back to school, we prayed and the song reined my heart and mind. I was able to overcome this situation in the name of Jesus; I still hear that song in my heart. In any situation you might experience, God will empower you to overcome. He will give you joy to overcome.

Grelan Muse Sr. is founder of Inside The Pew (@pewtalk) and founder of Emanuel and The Mainline Ministries (@EMM4Christ). To respond to this column, email him at pewnews@aol.com.

Hughes: Whither Tebow?

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By Paul Hughes
Special to Inside The Pew

Editor’s note: The views in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Inside The Pew staff.

So the question now is whether the future holds a place for Tim Tebow in the NFL.

Well my goodness they didn’t think he belonged there before Peyton Manning signed with the Broncos … so who cares what

What is next for Tim Tebow?

they say now?

When he was succeeding, they said he shouldn’t be. He just shouldn’t.

Why not?

He shouldn’t be succeeding because my … gosh! … just look at him! He shouldn’t be succeeding because he shouldn’t.

Perhaps you begin to see the problem with that reasoning.

Then they were bugged because he was proving them wrong.

Now what?

Deciding whether — or where — Tebow should play when you aren’t the one deciding is like asking if Google+ will topple Facebook. As if you could know.

Tebow will be fine.

And anyway, we don’t know.

Apropos of recent news — where will Peyton Manning sign? — I remember January, when the Colts fired their head coach, Jim Caldwell. The day before he was gone, as one report noted:

Things were so clouded Monday that Caldwell even met with former Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo about possibly becoming the Colts’ new defensive coordinator, and as late as Tuesday morning, the conventional wisdom was that Caldwell would stay.

Then things changed almost as suddenly as the Colts’ fortunes in 2011.

A day before he was fired, the coach met with someone to interview him for a job on his staff! In less than 24 hours, he was gone.

We just don’t know.

He never got real public support from either head coach John Fox or John Elway. These are the areas where support is routinely expressed … but not here.

They had a chance to build a team around the guy, and now another team will have that chance. The conventional wisdom says they will trade him.

Of course, conventional wisdom has been wrong before, and maybe Manning will train Tebow, instead of punch his ticket out.

If they do trade him, the new team will make it work.

Tebow’s a sinner saved by grace — yes — and knows his faith and football both come from God.

But he’s also an elite. He’s an awesome football player.

We may not like elitism … but we love excellence.

Elites.

Tim Tebow is one of them. He’s an elite. He’s in a place every day and a tougher place every week, and one that none of us, critics included, will ever see. He’s better than 1 percent of 1 percent of the world at this.

 

The oldest ugliest brokenest Major League Baseball journeyman utility infielder hitting .230 … the guy who might see a homerun once every 30 games … unless he’s watching his teammates when they’re up … who will never see the inside of Cooperstown unless he buys a ticket or they ask him to introduce someone who got voted in … is a better baseball player than any of us.

Let that sink in here.

Tebow’s good at football.

And he’s pretty good, period.

The more we know about Tim Tebow, the more we like him.

But even that — whether we like him or not — is of no ultimate concern.

Tebow’s New Testament namesake knew a little about pressure and derision.

And Tebow will get better and better.

This I am almost sure of.

And it will be OK.

This I do know.

He’ll be fine.

I recall C.S. Lewis writing somewhere, “If the Lord lets me keep writing, then blessed be He.  And if He does not — then blessed be He.” This was in the early 1960s, a few years before his death. The Lord, it appears, did not let him keep writing.

Blessed be He.

Paul Hughes is a writer in Southern California. This column is partly excerpted from his book, Tebow: Throwing Stones (Kindle). Follow him on Twitter @poetandpriest.

Peyton Manning in at Denver, Tim Tebow likely to be traded

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By Mark Ellis
ASSIST News Service

The Denver Broncos quarterback who stole the hearts of believers around the country with his bold witness for Christ on and off the field, will be traded by the Broncos after they finalize contract negotiations for quarterback Peyton Manning.

The legendary Indianapolis Colts QB delivered the news to Broncos vice president of operations John Elway on March 19,

Peyton Manning, left, and Tim Tebow in 2010.

according to ESPN. Manning also called the San Francisco 49ers and Tennessee Titans to inform them of his intent to play for Denver, they reported.

Manning will be the next quarterback of the Broncos, unless there are unforeseen problems in final contract negotiations. Once the Manning deal becomes official, Denver will initiate efforts to trade Tebow, ESPN noted.

Denver’s team was 1–4 before Tebow became the starter, but immediately began winning with him on the field, often by coming from behind late in the fourth quarter in spectacular –even “miraculous” ways, until they won the AFC West title.

Tebow, the son of missionaries in the Philippines, has evoked strong emotions from critics and fans — ranging from adulation to disdain – but it never fazed him. Some criticize his throwing motion, some his reliance on an unorthodox option offense. Some believe the attacks may have been a thinly veiled response to his bold proclamations of faith.

Off the field, Tebow’s foundation is partnering with CURE International to build a 30-bed surgical facility for children focusing primarily on orthopedics on the island of Mindanao, where his parents are based.

No glitches are expected in the final contract details between Manning and the Broncos.  Elway and Manning first discussed the parameters of a five-year, $95 million contract during their March 9 meeting in Denver, the first time the quarterback visited a team during his free agency, ESPN reported.

ESPN NFL analyst Mark Schlereth maintains the Broncos were never sold on Tebow. Many seem to think Manning will be a better fit – “a kindred spirit” – with Elway and the Broncos.

Some Broncos players celebrated the news on Twitter; other analysts thought Manning should have picked the 49ers instead.

Tebow led the Denver Broncos to an 8-8 finish, an AFC West title and a first-round playoff victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.